Shane Eagle: The Perfect Fit

A look back at our issue 11 cover story from October 2021 featuring Shane Eagle in celebration of 50 years of Hip-Hop.

This month, Dutch denim brand G-Star RAW announced its latest worldwide “Hardcore Denim” campaign with an icon and a man who needs no introduction – Snoop Dogg. He is hailed as a living legend and a globally recognised innovator who is simultaneously iconic and accessible, just like denim. This new G-Star RAW campaign continues the brand’s longstanding tradition of working with “true originals” like Snoop – authentic and exceptional people who are one-of-a-kind and true masters of their craft.


Now, this all leads us to our new special HYPE magazine exclusive G-Star RAW story (visually captured by award-winning, contemporary multimedia visual artist Trevor Stuurman) that finds ‘SKYDREAM’ creator and like-minded creative Shane Eagle gracing the cover. Shane Eagle is one of four SA hip hop/rap artists who have been called upon to collaborate with G-Star RAW on this new campaign. If you’re a follower of SA hip hop, then you already know that Shane Eagle is another artist who doesn’t need an introduction, simply because of his catalogue of original/boundary-pushing work.


In this distinct Shane Eagle interview, we find out a little bit more about why he is a perfect fit for G-Star RAW’s “hardcore denim” philosophy, what his earliest memories of Snoop Dogg are, what his measures of success are, what sounds fans can expect on his upcoming sophomore album, and so much more…


What was the very first Snoop Dogg track you can remember hearing and thinking “damn”?

I was born in ’96 when Snoop was moulding the future of hip hop for kids like me to grow into and to be inspired by to this day. I remember the first song by Snoop I heard felt like the equivalent of hearing what hip hop as a genre was. Ironically, that song is known as ‘Who Am I? (What’s my name?)’.


And how old were you at the time?

I am not exactly sure how old I was. I just knew Snoop had people of all ages singing his name: “Snoop Doggy Dogg”. It’s like every hood’s anthem.


So, when you think of his style, music and lifestyle, what comes to mind?

I think “living legend”. Snoop is one of the architects of hip hop/rap, whose image is paired with Chuck Taylors, buttoned-up flannel shirts, freshly braided hair, and baggy jeans. I think of him as a Rastafarian alumnus too – someone who chose creative expression over violence, who was a lot more advanced than the surroundings he was born into.

Did he impact your music in any way? If yes – how?

Of course. I feel like, if you consider yourself an MC or rapper, Snoop would’ve had some impact on you. For me, it was more of the ideology of how to come into the rap game; the need to rep who you are and where you’re from, so your growth can be tracked from that introduction. This is something you will see in my early work.


Any similarities to your music?

The similarity would be that we both keep it G.


What attracted you to partner with the G-Star RAW brand?

Well, I visited Amsterdam for the first time in 2018 and was lucky enough to return in 2019 for a tour with Bas, and we happened to shoot a music video called ‘AP3x’ during our visit. So, I have always had a fascination and appreciation for that space and saw it as a creative environment – where some of my inspiration for art, music, fashion stems from. When I received my first parcel from G-Star RAW and noticed the items of clothing were packaged in wrapping paper with the G-Star RAW headquarters (in Amsterdam) floorplan printed on it, I immediately resonated with their attention to fine-print and detail. The partnership felt natural because I understood the brand to share the notion of “timelessness” with me. In other words, I saw the link between the perpetuity in my music and the longevity of the clothing, which will both be inherited and celebrated for generations to come.

What’s that one thing you think makes you unique and makes you stand out as an artist?

The fact that I’m always myself, because I know that already makes me different from everyone else. When you’re true to yourself, you can’t be like anyone else. God made me unique.


How do you measure success – a gold plaque, over a million streams on iTunes, winning Best Hip Hop Album at the SA Music Awards? Or is it something more than any of these?

I am extremely thankful to be acknowledged for those accomplishments, especially being one of the first award-winning independent artists and record label founders from South Africa. The only aspect of success I can take from this, however, is to prove that you can allow yourself to create from your own pool of inspiration, without any inhibition of how it will be received, and still be rewarded for it.


So, would you say you are successful?

I think the idea of success is relative. For me, success means that I’ve managed to solidify and secure global relationships, on my own accord, for my next album. The fact that I’m still independent at this phase of my life is a success to me. If I win, it’s on me; if I lose, it’s on me. But I would rather count on myself than do what someone else believes is right for me.

Looking at your life and career so far, what makes you most proud?

The fact that my father got to see me be successful before he departed and became my “North Star”.


How has COVID impacted you?

It honestly made me realise the importance of my health and to express gratitude for every day I get to wake up and still be present. It just gave me more time to work on my album, and to be more hands-on with everything related to my life and art in general. I’ve turned my space into a musical laboratory, where I find myself working after hours to stay connected with creatives in different time zones. I am also lucky to be an Irish citizen too, so I can travel abroad whenever I’m ready to do so again.


How do you remain positive and inspired during challenging times? Who or what inspires you today?

I think change is always challenging because it destabilises a sense of comfortability. But change is important for growth, even though it may feel like a loss. Only true pioneers will use this to their benefit. For me, I have learnt so much as far as engineering and producing my next album goes, and how to channel it directly to my fans for their enlightenment and appreciation.


I am inspired by the new world and era we are in; the next phase of growth towards being a better human; the new and existing relationships I’ve maintained with great artists and producers from across the globe; the people who have been consistent in my journey; my fans who are eagerly waiting for my next offering; the new range of skills I’ve acquired in being more self-reliant and involved in my musical process; and the new places I have yet to see and hope to perform in.


You’re quite strategically active on social media and it’s clear you’ve got something up your sleeve… What is your social media strategy?

On my upcoming sophomore album, I’ve grappled with the idea of finding a balance between happiness found in real-life experiences versus a digital replica of that feeling. In other words, I have a real-life strategy – that I choose to share on social media as a reminder that I am a source of realness, and social media is a reflection of what is real.

How important is your engagement on social media in terms of building your career?

I think the most important aspect of my career was to find a channel where I could use my talent to find my true purpose. Social media has served as that channel thus far; however, I feel authenticity may get homogenised or lost in the influx of images and information. So, as an independent, I’m more interested in coding for my own database of followers who serve my cause directly, kinda like my own crypto.


On your latest single, ‘SKYDREAM’, you surprised fans with the redveil and Monte Booker collab, and on DMF, the list of features is also insane. What do you look for in an artist when considering a collab?

Well, I love the process of finding artists who I feel are great and not necessarily the most popular; who are leaders and legends in their own right.


Who would you say have been the most important people in terms of assisting you in developing your musical career and achieving your goals?

Definitely my father, who raised me to be the man I am today. My mother, who has always been a reminder for me to remain humble. My life partner Nicole Swartz, who is also a gifted painter, visual artist and art director to my record label. She is the most consistent person in my life and journey, and her perspective is rare. I’d also like to add that she’s the executive producer for my sophomore album – where every artist I have connected and collaborated with has also played a part in my artistic development and achievement.

You’ve already hinted at your sophomore album… Is the anything else you can share with your fans about the music out now and the music coming up?

‘SKYDREAM’ is my latest single out now on all platforms. I have fused with idiosyncratic American producer Monte Booker and featured promising lyricist redveil from PG County on this timeless sound capsule. This is an appetiser for what my fans can expect on my upcoming album. Right now, it’s looking like 18 songs that I’ve written, engineered and arranged all on my own. I’ve worked with a variety of sounds from different artists and producers from all over the world, and I still record every day, finding gems to add and remove, but it will be special because it’s a different approach to any previous template or process I have followed.


Besides the music, what’s next for Shane Patrick Hughes?

At this point, I just want to become a better version of myself daily! Being great is a choice you have to make every day, and that drive affects everything you do.


Finally, where do you see your legacy fitting into the South African hip hop and rap story?

Being the first independent artist from South Africa to be globally recognised.

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